22 September, 2016

Grunt : the curious science of humans at war by Mary Roach


So its official, Mary Roach is incapable of writing a bad book, or even  a slightly dull read. Every time I see a new title out by this author I’m intrigued as to whether, true to form, she will be able to marry the quirky and humorous with seemingly dry scientific topics.

If you’ve already happened upon some of Roach’s work you will be ignoring the rest of this ode to Mary and ordering your copy of Grunt, newly released this year. Maybe you haven’t discovered Mary Roach before but like your writing odd ball flavoured with a side of black humour. Begin with Stiff,  the science of dead bodies; lusciously, wickedly dark.

 But where was I? Back on track, Roach’s latest book GruntThe curious science of humans at war  passed the litmus test   with flying colours, wonderfully entertaining and enlightening at the same time. I am in no way shape or form remotely interested in reading about war, or anything related to warfare yet I will pick up any book written by this author, regardless of the topic. I imagine she could write a book about rivets that is well, riveting.

If you need more convincing, let  me wow you with some of the topics she covers. Stink bombs, genital reconstructions, full genital transplants, the impact of diarrhea on soldiers in critical positions (don’t be rude, I mean their military role), how combat medics are prepped for the gore they might encounter.  If this might sound a little voyeuristic, it’s not, it is fascinating and scientifically accurate and superbly written.

Mary Roach is the most engaging and creative science writer around, long may she write.

Title: GruntThe curious science of humans at war
Author:  Mary Roach


Reviewed by: Sue W

Sue W loves her fur babies equally but differently and used to administer time out to think about bad behaviours. However, since Patrick the fox arrived, she can no longer lock a miscreant in the spare room least Patrick is set upon.

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